Gator safety Brown back at practice

By Times staff writers
Published December 22, 2005

GAINESVILLE - Senior safety Vernell Brown participated in practice Wednesday for the first time since he broke his leg six weeks ago.

"It's the first time he's done that. So that's looking a little better," coach Urban Meyer said. "He's sore, but that's looking better than it ever has."

Brown, who was injured in the Nov. 5 Vanderbilt game, has vowed to return for his final game but his status has been questionable. The Gators could use him more than ever because safety Reggie Nelson sprained an MCL this week and also is questionable. Meyer allowed Nelson to go home without practicing Wednesday morning.

The Gators will take four days off before reporting to Tampa on Dec. 26 for the Outback Bowl.

BATTLE POSTPONED: Fans eager to see the first game between Florida and USF will have to wait a while longer. Athletic directors at both schools confirmed Wednesday that the game scheduled for 2008 has been moved to Sept. 10, 2011 due to scheduling conflicts. The game scheduled for Sept. 5, 2009 remains, at least for now.

- ANTONYA ENGLISH, Times staff writer

USF: Double dose at RT

TAMPA - Offensive linemen Marc Dile and Walt Walker have spilt playing time at right tackle throughout the season, and coach Jim Leavitt stated it will stay that way for the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 31.

Dile, a true freshman, made all but one start this season, when Walker, a sophomore, started against Penn State.

RECRUITING: As expected, Frank Harry, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive lineman from Pearl River (Miss.) Community College, signed Wednesday and plans to enroll for the spring semester in January. The Bulls, however, did not hear from his teammate, quarterback Jimmy Oliver, who was expected to sign as well. Oliver, a two-time national junior college offensive player of the year, could not be reached for comment.

THIS AND THAT: Wide receiver Johnny Peyton ran routes for the first time since his injury Dec. 3. ... Today's morning practice is the last before Christmas.

- MIKE CAMUNAS, Times correspondent

FSU: Bring on the pads

TALLAHASSEE - Coach Bobby Bowden tweaked his usual bowl regimen by having players in full pads the last few days and hitting as if it were late August.

"We've probably done more contact than we have in previous bowls," he said. "Usually, you get down to the end of the year and everybody gets injured or is slightly injured, you're afraid to."

With so many injuries on both lines and in the secondary, the Seminoles went more than a month late in the season eschewing full pads and full contact. But the players felt that hurt them, contributing to a three-game losing streak. The coaches, at the players' urging, had them back in pads before the ACC championship upset victory over Virginia Tech.

ACADEMIC REPORT: Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Courtney Abbott, who hadn't played this year, confirmed he was dismissed from the team for academic reasons and plans to go to a junior college.

- BRIAN LANDMAN, Times staff writer